Catastrophic Wildfire Burning in Sweden
(image by Wall Street Journal) DMCA
While much of the American West is a light fire Ponderosa Pine ecosystem, much of Northern Europe has a light fire Scots Pine ecosystem. Both ecosystems are both cool weather pine ecosystems that need frequent light fire for forest health and protection from catastrophic fire.
In Sweden, Press TV reports. "Sweden is fighting a huge forest fire raging in central part of the country as officials say the wildfire is the worst in Scandinavia in 40 years.
The Wall Street Journal reports, "Forest fires are a risk we tend to associate primarily with Southern Europe, but we are seeing that no country is immune," said Kristalina Georgieva, the European Union Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response. "Let us hope that our biggest fear of the blaze spreading to urban areas will not materialize."
The important thing to understand is that these catastrophic wildfires are being caused by decades of fire exclusion and fire suppression in light fire ecosystems that need light cool fires to survive and flourish. When fire is excluded, forest debris accumulates and the situation made worse by forest trees growing too close together without natural thinning by light fires.
The article Fire Ecology of Scots pine in North-West Europe states, "Based on the good regeneration and for the purpose of fuel load reduction in areas with increased fire hazard, the prescribed burning of Scots pine stands should be reconsidered. Controlled forest fires could be used as an additional silvicultural technique to regenerate and transform single-species pine stands into mixed and more natural forests.
In the article Ponderosa Pine: Western United States, "Fire in ponderosa pine forests, as in Chaparral communities, serves to replace older plants with younger ones of the same species. Historically, fires in ponderosa pine communities burned naturally on a cycle of one every 5- to 25-years. The article goes on to state, "Prescribed burning is applied with slightly greater frequency and regularity, keeping in mind that a fire that is ignited too early will not have sufficient fuel to be effective. Similarly, a fire ignited too late in the cycle may potentially develop into a high-intensity fire.
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